Feb 28, 2013--Jean-Claude Duvalier has today obeyed a judicial order to appear in a Haitian court to answer to criminal accusations. The proceedings are ongoing and you can follow them on the Twitter feed of Attorney Nicole Phillips.
The order and court appearance are the latest developments in a legal process that began when the former dictator returned to Haiti two years ago following several decades of comfortable residence in France. Victims of Duvalier's rule are seeking to have him prosecuted for human rights crimes. A Haitian judge rejected that last year, saying Duvalier will only face accusations of theft and embezzlement of state funds. That decision is under appeal.
Nicole Phillips is of one of the lawyers at the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy In Haiti (IJDH). Its partner office in Haiti is the Bureau des avocats internationaux (BAI--Office of International Lawyers). They are among those representing the victims of the Duvalier family tyranny that ruled over Haiti from 1957 to 1986.
Full news coverage of this event will be forthcoming in the days ahead.
Cholera case is another historic legal battle
The IJDH and BAI are also the lead agencies in the more than one year-old legal action against the United Nations Security Council for its criminally reckless conduct in introducing the cholera bacteria to Haiti in October 2010. The cholera epidemic in Haiti has killed more than 8,000 people. Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon wrote to the Haiti government to announce that the Security Council considers any legal action in the matter to be "non-receivable." You can read the full background to this story on the website of the Canada Haiti Action Network.
The editors of the New York Times and Boston Globe, members of the U.S. Congress (here and here) and the global health agency Partners In Health are demanding that the UN take decisive action to mitigate and eliminate cholera in Haiti.
The UN decision on cholera has not been reported in mainstream media in Canada and members of parliament remain silent on the matter.
Today is the ninth anniversary of the paramilitary coup that overthrew Haiti's elected government on February 29, 2004. To mark the occasion, rabble.ca publishes an article by Canadian writer Yves Engler that was originally written four days following the coup. It was titled, 'Did Canada support a coup in Haiti?'